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Hopoate not surprised Dogs are finally barking

It's been two years since the Bulldogs won three games in a row but Will Hopoate says it hasn't taken the team completely by surprise.

"Across the board it's our attitude in the effort areas, like kick-chase, tying in tight in defence a bit better, things like that," Hopoate said as the Belmore club prepares to face a fairly daunting task – the Broncos at home at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night.

"A tough, young forward pack. You can't completely stop them, you've just got to try and contain them as much as you can.

"[Matt] Lodge and [Payne] Haas up front are big bodies. And there's a few more behind them. It will be a tough one."

But the Bulldogs have a spring in their step. Upset wins over two top-eight sides Cronulla and Newcastle has them in line for their first hat-trick of victories since the opening rounds of 2017.

"It's a new feeling going to back-to-back. It hasn't happened in a while but winning makes everything feel a bit better – makes the bumps and bruises feel better," Hopoate said.

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"But we're under no illusion that two wins in a row is nothing compared to what the top teams are doing and that's what we want to try and be.

"So we need to back it up this Thursday."

Two key ingredients are the form of Hopoate and the presence of new Panthers recruit Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.

The New Zealand captain will be enjoying his third game with the Bulldogs when they travel to Brisbane. In other words, the roving fullback has not lost in Bulldogs colours – yet.

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"Dal has been  great for us with his quick-returns and bringing the ball back with plenty of speed and power," Hopoate said.

"I expected him to fit in seamlessly. We knew he was a great player – an international – so maybe the fresh start at a new club was good for him too.

"He's playing outstanding footy for us. We just need him to keep doing it.

"Young [five-eighth] Brandon Wakeham has done well since coming into grade too."

Of course Hopoate seems to be having a ball at centre – now able to make that spot his own again with Watene-Zelezniak tucked up in the No.1 jersey.

Hopoate has played all 16 games this year, scoring four tries, four try assists, 42 tackle-breaks and three line-breaks. He scored against the Sharks and Knights so has his own personal momentum building.

"I enjoy playing there, I really do," he said.

"I'm getting a nice combination there with [winger] Reimis Smith and Coggs [halfback Jack Cogger]."

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